Will President Trump be a Cycling Friendly President?
It will only be a few days until the inauguration of President-elect Trump. As it nears, I’ve been wondering what kind of President he will be when it comes to bicycling infrastructure and culture. Back in the 80’s, Trump started his own cycle race called the “Tour de Trump” in New York. He said it would rival the Tour de France. It ended 2 years later.
We’ve made great strides in pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure and funding over the many previous Presidential reigns:
- George H. W. Bush was the first president to include bike and pedestrian funding in a federal transportation bill. Signed into law in 1991, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) recognized the potential for biking and walking to help mitigate congestion and air quality problems. It came on the heels of Bush’s Clean Air Act amendment, which aimed to mitigate urban smog and the impact of automobile emissions.ISTEA gave bicycle and pedestrian projects access to federal money in a few ways. It stipulated that a certain portion of allocations must be reserved for “Transportation Enhancements (TE)” and bike and pedestrian projects were included as viable options. ISTEA created a new funding source called Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ). And it created the National Recreational Trails Act. Together they opened the door for thousands of new bike and pedestrian projects across the U.S. from rail trails in Idaho to pedestrian safety improvements in New Jersey.
- Bill Clinton’s 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) expanded bike and pedestrian funding opportunities, stipulated that transportation projects must provide “due consideration for safety and contiguous routes for bicyclists and pedestrians” and authorized the Federal Highway Administration to develop a national bicycle safety education curriculum.TEA-21 amended the eligibility of certain projects for Federal-aid funding including:
- National Highway System funds may now be used for pedestrian walkways.
- National Highway System funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects may now be used for projects within Interstate corridors.
- Expands eligible uses of STP safety setaside funds to include bicycle improvements. In addition, Hazard Elimination (part of the STP safety setaside) funds can now be used for pedestrian and bicyclist public pathways and trails and facilities; traffic calming projects are specifically mentioned as eligible activities.
- George W. Bush signed the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETE); which by that time, bike ped funding had doubled to about $400 million. Most significantly, SAFETE also created the national Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) and allocated another $612 million in funding over a four-year period for SRTS programs around the country.
- Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which briefly spiked bike and ped annual funding to around $1.2 billion. Perhaps more importantly, it created the TIGER grant program, which has since allocated nearly $154 million to bicycle and pedestrian projects around the country.
But now, moving forward, what can we expect from the Trump administration and their views and values of bicycle and pedestrian funding? No one really knows other than what was said on his election website, “Pursue an “America’s Infrastructure First” policy that supports investments in transportation…. ” What will that investment be in accordance to our bike and ped culture? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, let’s hope and continue to work one-by-one, and as advocacy groups, to insure our voices are heard by this incoming President and all Presidents that follow.